I went to TIHC to see Breakdown play with its original line up. After all, these are guys from my neighborhood in Yonkers and I haven’t seen them play together since I saw them open for Uniform Choice’s first show at CBGB’s almost 25 years ago to the day (it is insane how old I am/ how long I’ve been around hardcore). Originally I was gonna ride down with the band in the AM so I would have had a chance to see more bands and provide you bro’s with more of a complete review but due to no room and going out a little too late the night before (well worth it), I caught a ride with my friend Lucia who is Carl from Killing Time/Breakdown’s girlfriend (she’s been to a lot of shows) and her besty Alex who was visiting from Wales (she’s never been to a HC show).
1:45 (ish- all times are approximate) My sons are out of town with their mother- so I’m having a leisurely late- Sunday morn. Iced coffee, park bench, Sunday NY Times, chillin.. Relaxing so much just realize that I’m running late already! Gotta get to Williamsburg in 15 min!
2:15 Meet the girls by Kellogg’s Diner- got a nice veggie sushi roll at the spot across the street. Hit the road…
2:40 We get through BK and Staten Island – no traffic! Amazing… rocking a 3 hour mix that my brother recorded at one of his nights a Ms. Lily’s. Lots of new dancehall and R’n’B.
3:15 Hit a rest stop on the NJ Turnpike for coffees. Always wonder what Anglos/Euros think of ugly America. Alex seems unfazed by the sights and sounds of a McDonald’s on the NJ Turnpike. I myself, being an urban sophisticate, am completely horrified…
3:45 Details of the girls’ recent voyage to Miami Beach. Absolute DEAD silence when I make a totally off color joke about the sexual proclivities of women from Miami. In the car for less than 2 hours and I’ve already said something really offensive. We were bro-ing out so hard I forgot who my audience was (sorry girls, srsly!).
4:00 Traffic… we are aiming to get to Philly before KT set at 515. I think we are good, Lucia is worried, Killing Time is supposed to go on at 5:15. Texts from Carl wondering where we are. Anyway, this Zipcar has really nice AC and my bro’s mix is moving into some Soca. Never could stand that stuff back in the day. I sort of like it now. Don’t know what that says about me..
4:30 Traffic.. We are going 1 mile/ hr. I really dislike the State of New Jersey.
4:45 Finally moving again.. Lucia is driving like a girl hellbent on not missing a note of her man’s set. You go girl!
5:00 Moved onto to my playlist of 90’s stuff/ music they use to play at Kenmare (Damn, I really miss that spot!) like Happy Mondays, Blur, Charlatan’s UK, New Order. Hanging with an Italian girl and her friend from Cardiff chatting about fancy brunches and it practically is Kenmare ‘cept I’m wearing a seatbelt, there are less drugs, and it isn’t 4:52 am.
5:15 finally cross the Ben Franklin Bridge. We are 2 minutes from the show. Don’t know about now days, but it used to be that back in the day the you knew your were getting closer to the HC show by how bad the neighborhood was. More burnt out cars/ boarded up buildings meant you were getting warmer. The Electric Factory looks like it is in a neighborhood that was once like that but has been recently spruced up.
5:20 Find a parking spot right in front! Just gotta feed the meter. Hit the bathroom at the sports bar next to the gig. Did I mention how much I hate Philly sports fans? (Full disclosure: I’m a huge Giants fan) For some reason there are a lot of them in NY these days. If your city is sooo amazing, why the fuck did you move up here ? 9 out of 10 times if you see a dude in Phillies/Eagles/Flyers jersey in a bar – he’s drunk and an asshole. Anyway, I’m now in a Philly sports bar- hurry up girls! Let’s get out of here!
5:25 Check in at the back, get our badges/ wristbands, etc. Totally impressed by the whole vending set up behind the venue- combining all the fun of hanging out across the street from the club with all the vending options of a Grateful Dead show. I back this extra hard! I quickly peruse the merch tables/ food options. Oh, this is gonna be good…
5:30 Go inside to catch the last few notes of a band that features the fat dude who does record reviews on Vice.com on bass. Actually, they are pretty good. I love Oi! And they are a pretty passable Oi band with Cockney accents and everything…
5:40 Checking out the crowd hanging out in the back. Interesting trends/ signs that things are always improving: cute 19 yo girl with an “Antidote-Thou Shalt Not Kill” shirt. Really cute OTW girl with NYHC neck tattoo.
5:45 Find all the Killing Time guys. Killing Time sets up. We hit the bar. Interesting that Yuengling “Supreme” is cheaper than regular Yuengling. Anyhoo- have the first of many beers for the day…
Damn, the Electric Factory is huge and has a great soundsystem (beats the pants off of Terminal 5) Having been on tours before, I really appreciate that the club in addition to showers, has washers and dryers backstage. That’s a pro-touch. Explain to Alex about how KT “Brightside” is considered a “classic” for the genre.
6:15 Killing Time finishes up a set of almost all stuff from the “Brightside.” They sound tight/heavy/ hard. After they are done, a guy comes on and makes an announcement that I don’t think I will ever hear again in my life: “There will be a 30 minute dinner break then- Negative Approach!!!!”
6:16- Go outside and hit the Veggie Banh Mi cart. Have the veg chicken sandwich.. So good! Check out the t-shirt options, its gonna be a tough call. Also, run into Eric from Rumpshaker Fanzine. Pick up a copy of his latest issue (which is more of a book than a zine) There’s a 16 page interview with Mike Judge in it!
6:45 Negative Approach!!! Never saw them back in the day as they are a 1st generation band that had broken up by the time my 2nd generation ass started going to shows. Long and short they killed it! John Brannon (singer of NA) looks really good considering he’s 51 and from what I gather has had a history of bad habits. Prob cause he has some of the same extra robust Midwestern genes that helped Iggy survive too.
Met some photographer girl online to the bathroom who said she’d hit me off with some flix for the post. Never got back to me (I too would have been unimpressed by some dude writing a post for his “blog”), so we’re stuck with shots from my phone.
7:15 Going back to the parking lot run into Ezec before Crown of Thorns goes on. Say what up- haven’t seen him in over 10 years, just ran into him at a club in NYC a few weeks back, now here. Great dude. Make up my mind- going with the Negative Approach t-shirt. Have some more beers with the Killing Time/Breakdown/ Crown of Thornz dudes and friends- we breezed through a case of Yuengling and are now on to our second 30 pack of PBR’s. It’s a party…
7:30 Got a chance to talk to John Brannon as they were loading out. After briefly fanboying- I’m huge Negative Approach fan and an even bigger Laughing Hyenas fan (late 80’s/90’s band he did after NA)- I asked him what he though of my “hardcore as roots music theory”- He said he agrees and says basically the same thing all the time- It’s like old timey rock n roll at this point! Those dudes are excited for their upcoming tour west coast tour w OFF! I’ll prob see’em when they play the Power of the Riff show in NY with AF.
7:45 Hit the banh mi cart again- damn those things are gooood..
8:00 Hang with Carl and catch up with a bunch of friends who I haven’t seen in a minute.
A little of Breakdown history: As I mentioned before, they are band from Yonkers that was started by Carl, Rich, and Drago pre- Killing Time/ Raw Deal. They put out demo cassette in 1987 (later released as a 7”), played a few shows, and then those guys left Breakdown to form Raw Deal (Killing Time) with Anthony from Token Entry. Jeff, Breakdown’s singer, kept the band together over the years with various line ups, recorded a track for the Revelation “The Way It Is” comp, and did a few albums. Now the band has gotten back together with all five original members from the “Demo” line up (the fifth member, Don dropped out of hardcore after Carl, Rich and Drago left. Until they started rehearsing again, I hadn’t seen him in 20+ years). They played Chaos in Tejas a few months back and TIHC is their second show since reforming.
9:15 Breakdown plays a set of the entire 87 demo plus a couple of songs from the other releases the band did after the KT guys left. Totally awesome! So weird to see so many kids knowing the songs just from a demo tape released 25 years ago- but then again as Sarge and I both agree- with filesharing and a small, dedicated fanbase that jizzes over obscurities, hardcore is the perfect genre for the internet!
9:30 Even contemplate a stage dive for old time sake- then backed out. I’m in shape, I play b-ball 3 times a week- but on the off, off, off chance that I did get hurt, I don’t think I could tell people that at 41, father of 2, I hurt myself “moshing.” For real, getting into a fight would be easier to explain, at least I could blame it on the other dude.
I know its mad blurry, but that is me in the red shirt stagediving when Breakdown played the Tompkins Square Park bandshell a few days after the riots!
9:45 Everyone then hung out after ward back stage, great times. I checked out some of Blacklisted and then helped load out.
11:15 On the way out of town we get mildly lost for a few minutes. Being a New Yorker who once got lost in Oakland, I am completely terrified of the “hood” in any other big American city: Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, you name it. I’ve walked around everywhere in NY: East New York nowdays, even the LES and the Bronx in the 80’s and felt safe-ish- the rest of America does hood differently than New York. Don’t think we went anywhere too crazy, but my only points of reference for the “City of Brotherly Love” are Beanie Sigel and Freeway! Other than that, the drive home is pretty uneventful- we left late enough to miss all the Shore traffic.
Had an amazing time. I really was impressed with how well run the event was and more importantly with the vibe. Everyone was having a great time and this was on day 4 of 4 where everyone was probably a little tired out. I can only image what the energy was like on one of the earlier nights. Would go back next year in a second..